Vandana Shiva 3-pack
Despite the position of the Trump administration, which has labeled climate change a “hoax” concocted by China, there is virtual universal unanimity that the Earth’s temperature is rising and that human activity is largely responsible. In the face of this crisis Trump is cutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency and laying off staff. Is this the kind of response required at this critical juncture? The window for collective action to mitigate the effects of global warming is narrowing. Corporate-driven policies toward the Earth as just a place to extract resources and make money must be reversed if long-term tragic consequences are to be avoided. Sustainable agricultural practices and nutritious food are key to healing ourselves and our planet. Ecological and social justice are inseparable.
Seeds, those little things we kind of take for granted, are the essence of life. Increasingly, corporations have taken over agriculture and in their insatiable quest for profits have injected GMOs, genetically modified organisms, into the food chain. As the joke goes, GMO stands for “God Move Over.” The four largest GMO crops, corn, soy, sugar beets and canola constitute 70 percent of all products. Should the government require mandatory labeling on foods containing genetically engineered ingredients? A lot of people think so. Large agribusiness and biotech companies have spent hundreds of millions fighting labeling. With control of seeds through patents and so-called intellectual property rights in the hands of a few corporations, biodiversity disappears, and is replaced by GMO monocultures. Seeds in traditional cultures were regarded as sacred. It’s time we stopped soiling the soil.
There was much fanfare as the leaders of the U.S. and China, the world’s largest carbon polluters signed what was trumpeted as an “historic” deal cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But the Center for Science & Environment in India denounced the agreement as “self-serving” and “business as usual.” Much more urgent action is required to avoid a catastrophic rise in global temperatures. As the eco-crisis accelerates and the major contributors to climate change make grandiose statements but then take halfhearted measures, it is easy to despair. But we simply can’t afford to do nothing and wallow in negativity. The moment calls for action and engagement not passivity and indifference. The magnitude of the crisis requires radical compassion for the Earth and all its inhabitants and flora and fauna. Despite probes landing on comets this is the only home we have.
Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. She’s a physicist, scholar, social activist and feminist. She is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. She’s the recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize and of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. She is the author of many books, including Water Wars, Earth Democracy, Soil Not Oil and Making Peace with the Earth. She is the editor of the book Seed Sovereignty, Food Security.